The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 8 December. Patronages – barrel makers, coopers, cloth makers, cloth workers, soldiers of the United States, Spanish infantry, tapestry workers, upholsterers, Argentina, Brazil, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guam, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Tanzania, Tunisia, United States, 68 Diocese, 8 Cities.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, nine months before the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on 8 September. I wish you all a Blessed and Holy Feast Day!
This festival began in the East, in the 8th Century, since mention is made of it by Saint John Damascen, who lived n 721. It was instituted in England in the year 1100 by Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury. Afterwards in the Diocese of Lyons in the year 1145. Pope Sixtus IV commanded, in the year 1576, the celebration of it throughout Christendom.
At the very first moment of conception in the womb of Saint Ann, Mary’s soul was flooded with the fullness of grace: “all fair, all beautiful.” The laws of man and of nature did not apply to Mary. Her soul was flooded with light so that she could make her acceptance of the Mystical Marriage with her God.
“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, you have wounded my heart…My sister, my Bride is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up…Thou art beautiful, O my Love, sweet and comely; terrible as an army set in array…One is my Dove; My perfect one is but one; she is the holy one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. How beautiful art thou, by dearest delights!…Put me as a seal upon they heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death…” – thus God speaks to her in the “Canticle of Canticles,” and Mary replies:
“I found Him Whom my soul loved…”
Mary’s Suscipe – the most perfect act of surrender a creature ever made, an oblation which would have a permanent re-echo every moment of her life, her bridal consecration, her mystical union with God was spoken at the very first moment of her being. Fiat – Be is done to me…
There was never a questioning of God’s will in the life of Mary but it was always perfect acceptance of whatever He planned and wanted of her. Therein lies sanctity – doing God’s will, not ours, regardless. Yes, even the Motherhood of Mary as the “Mater Dei” depended on this, for Christ in the Gospels says:
“Who are My Mother and My Brethren? If anyone does the will of My Father, he is My Mother and My Brethren.”
You, who love the Blessed Mother so intimately should certainly desire, with all your heart, to imitate Mary’s Fiat in every instance of life. Strive for this initial complete consecration to the Will of God in everything, regardless. At the root, foundation of every life lived for God, there must be a “Suscipe” “Take O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my will…” and a Fiat in deepest love and conformity to God’s Holy Will. In return God will favour you with peace, joy of service but, also, as He did His own dear Mother, with suffering but, always, He will give you the grace to say with Mary, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Will.”
Mary is “our tainted nature’s solitary boast” and we are her children. Should not a daughter try to resemble her Mother in everything? Mary is the Treasure-house of God’s graces, she will give whatever we ask of her, if it be the divine Will.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, Immaculate One, pray for us!”